Finance market in Dubai

Old Aug 17th 2019, 10:33 am
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Default Finance market in Dubai

Hello everyone,

I was wondering if someone would be able to provide some insight into the current state of the job market for finance professionals in Dubai at the moment.

My wife and I have recently decided after several visits to Dubai over the years we would like to experience living there for a few years, we have two children aged 3 and 6 and it feels like if we are ever going to try living overseas now is the time to do it!

I am a qualified accountant (ACCA) I trained with one of the big 4 firms in the UK prior to moving into industry as a Financial Controller and more recently as a Finance Director. I have been looking at senior finance roles in Dubai passively for some time now and over the last day or so I have reached out to one of the well known recruitment agencies and one of my contacts who is based in Dubai. I currently earn in the region of £80k per year and from my initial budget I think I would need a package of around 50,000 AED/month in order to maintain a reasonable lifestyle

I would appreciate the forums views on how realistic my ambition of obtaining a suitable position in Dubai is, from what I can gather there are plenty of accountants in Dubai prepared to work for considerable less than what is the norm in the UK. However, I am hoping that when it comes to the senior finance roles in Dubai (Financial Controller, Head of Finance, Senior Finance Manager etc) there will be an opportunity for a big 4 trained expat from the UK.

Any thoughts and feedback much appreciated.

HWD008
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Old Aug 17th 2019, 11:14 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by HWD008 View Post
Hello everyone,

I was wondering if someone would be able to provide some insight into the current state of the job market for finance professionals in Dubai at the moment.

My wife and I have recently decided after several visits to Dubai over the years we would like to experience living there for a few years, we have two children aged 3 and 6 and it feels like if we are ever going to try living overseas now is the time to do it!

I am a qualified accountant (ACCA) I trained with one of the big 4 firms in the UK prior to moving into industry as a Financial Controller and more recently as a Finance Director. I have been looking at senior finance roles in Dubai passively for some time now and over the last day or so I have reached out to one of the well known recruitment agencies and one of my contacts who is based in Dubai. I currently earn in the region of £80k per year and from my initial budget I think I would need a package of around 50,000 AED/month in order to maintain a reasonable lifestyle

I would appreciate the forums views on how realistic my ambition of obtaining a suitable position in Dubai is, from what I can gather there are plenty of accountants in Dubai prepared to work for considerable less than what is the norm in the UK. However, I am hoping that when it comes to the senior finance roles in Dubai (Financial Controller, Head of Finance, Senior Finance Manager etc) there will be an opportunity for a big 4 trained expat from the UK.

Any thoughts and feedback much appreciated.

HWD008
basically it’s miserable.

A CFO will get you 50k-60k nowadays. Finance mangers etc will be low.

Try the Big 4.
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Old Aug 17th 2019, 4:59 pm
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Thanks for the response Millhouse, the salary figures quoted in the 2019 Robert Half salary guide do suggest that reasonable salaries are attainable at Financial Controller / Senior Finance Manager level.

I’ve also seen salaries of 40-50 AED quoted on quite a few job adverts for those roles.

I shall persevere with my search and hope for the best!
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Old Aug 17th 2019, 5:10 pm
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by HWD008 View Post
Thanks for the response Millhouse, the salary figures quoted in the 2019 Robert Half salary guide do suggest that reasonable salaries are attainable at Financial Controller / Senior Finance Manager level.

I’ve also seen salaries of 40-50 AED quoted on quite a few job adverts for those roles.

I shall persevere with my search and hope for the best!
The issue with 40-50 is that you see 50 while the employer sees 40. The competing Indian sees 700k rupees.

Last edited by Millhouse; Aug 17th 2019 at 5:21 pm.
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Old Aug 18th 2019, 4:16 pm
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Thanks Millhouse, it certainly sounds like a tough market out there.

I am sure you have been asked this a million times but in your opinion what kind of package does a family of 4 need to live reasonable comfortably out there? I've done some research online and we would look to rent an apartment to start off with in order to keep costs down whilst we settle in, although I'm not entirely sure where the best apartments for family life are.

We are keen to move for the life experience so any thoughts on what kind of package I need to secure in order to make a move work would be much appreciated.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 8:22 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by HWD008 View Post
Thanks Millhouse, it certainly sounds like a tough market out there.

I am sure you have been asked this a million times but in your opinion what kind of package does a family of 4 need to live reasonable comfortably out there? I've done some research online and we would look to rent an apartment to start off with in order to keep costs down whilst we settle in, although I'm not entirely sure where the best apartments for family life are.

We are keen to move for the life experience so any thoughts on what kind of package I need to secure in order to make a move work would be much appreciated.
you have two kids in school. So that’s 10k a month in fees.

House is 12k a month
utilities is 2k a month
one car - 2k
maid - 3k
food - 4k
general (accrual for fights, random expenses) 5k

so that’s 40k to live. Add on your expected savings.

I spend around 32-35 a month to keep the bubble blown up. No kids in school yet (newborn) but cars, maid etc. I do travel to the UK monthly (so 3k on flights + expenses when there). The wife is also quite expensive to maintain (but she is hot af so it’s ok).

I pay everything (except rent and small cash expenses) on card and it runs at around 18-20k a month.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 8:50 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post
I pay everything (except rent and small cash expenses) on card and it runs at around 18-20k a month.
Amateur. I do more than that and don't have kids or villas or multiple cars to worry about.

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Old Aug 19th 2019, 8:56 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
Amateur. I do more than that and don't have kids or villas or multiple cars to worry about.
Interestingly my expenses have gone down since the fruits of my (wife’s) labour have arrived.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 8:58 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


wow. On what? I don’t buy crap anymore and I live the life of a monk.
I was joking, it normally runs in the low teens. General shit really and some bills and beers etc...the last 2-3 months it has been at around 30k. Mainly holiday stuff to be fair - car booking, hotels, flights etc.

It's all airmiles though.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 9:05 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
I was joking, it normally runs in the low teens. General shit really and some bills and beers etc...the last 2-3 months it has been at around 30k. Mainly holiday stuff to be fair - car booking, hotels, flights etc.

It's all airmiles though.
the more you spend the more you save

mine at 20k also has medical bills and some light work expenses (ie about 2-3 lunches a month) on it. True costs for me is probably nearer 15k including the flights to the UK. I do own my cars though so there is no monthly outgoing associated with them.

In the more expensive tones of 2013, I was running on around 38k for a family of 3 with maid and one in school (the child, not the maid).
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 9:33 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


the more you spend the more you save

mine at 20k also has medical bills and some light work expenses (ie about 2-3 lunches a month) on it. True costs for me is probably nearer 15k including the flights to the UK. I do own my cars though so there is no monthly outgoing associated with them.

In the more expensive tones of 2013, I was running on around 38k for a family of 3 with maid and one in school (the child, not the maid).
I definitely have some work expenses in there, big bucks like Linkedin premium and other critical shit like my phone bill which is minimum 12/1300 a month, thankfully these idiots pay for it.

I tried to explain to someone who left Dubai about 2013 and wants to come back that 45k single earning households with a wife/husband not working and two kids just doesn't work anymore.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 10:00 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Scamp View Post
I definitely have some work expenses in there, big bucks like Linkedin premium and other critical shit like my phone bill which is minimum 12/1300 a month, thankfully these idiots pay for it.

I tried to explain to someone who left Dubai about 2013 and wants to come back that 45k single earning households with a wife/husband not working and two kids just doesn't work anymore.
I don’t think it worked in 2013 either. More likely to work now with the rents so low in my opinion.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 10:04 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


you have two kids in school. So that’s 10k a month in fees.

House is 12k a month
utilities is 2k a month
one car - 2k
maid - 3k
food - 4k
general (accrual for fights, random expenses) 5k

so that’s 40k to live. Add on your expected savings.

I spend around 32-35 a month to keep the bubble blown up. No kids in school yet (newborn) but cars, maid etc. I do travel to the UK monthly (so 3k on flights + expenses when there). The wife is also quite expensive to maintain (but she is hot af so it’s ok).

I pay everything (except rent and small cash expenses) on card and it runs at around 18-20k a month.
Thanks again Millhouse.

From the initial conversations I have had with recruiters it sounds like the best I can hope to achieve is a salary of 40 AED per month. Only 1 of my kids is of school age so I figure the following:

-House 12k - I am guessing this is based on an apartment? If so any recommendations for a good family area with apartments much appreciated
-Utilities 2k
-Car 2k
-Food 4k
-School 5k

We wouldn’t want a maid, so that’s a total of 25k per month. Based on a salary of 40k that would leave me 15k, I’m guessing/hoping this would be enough for general expenses and entertainment?.. We aren’t looking for a lavish life but aware that activities with the kids don’t come cheap!

in terms of savings call me naive but I’m not too worried about accumulating whilst in the region, I’ve worked hard thus far to build up a reasonable base in the UK so 2/3 years without saving seems a fair trade off for the life experience we are looking to obtain.

Does the above sound realistic or am I way out?
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 10:39 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by HWD008 View Post


Thanks again Millhouse.

From the initial conversations I have had with recruiters it sounds like the best I can hope to achieve is a salary of 40 AED per month. Only 1 of my kids is of school age so I figure the following:

-House 12k - I am guessing this is based on an apartment? If so any recommendations for a good family area with apartments much appreciated
-Utilities 2k
-Car 2k
-Food 4k
-School 5k

We wouldn’t want a maid, so that’s a total of 25k per month. Based on a salary of 40k that would leave me 15k, I’m guessing/hoping this would be enough for general expenses and entertainment?.. We aren’t looking for a lavish life but aware that activities with the kids don’t come cheap!

in terms of savings call me naive but I’m not too worried about accumulating whilst in the region, I’ve worked hard thus far to build up a reasonable base in the UK so 2/3 years without saving seems a fair trade off for the life experience we are looking to obtain.

Does the above sound realistic or am I way out?
way out.

The 3 y/o will need to go to school. We start at 3 not 5 here if you want a space for later.

The wife will go nuts at home all day when it’s hot. She needs a job or outlet which will cost you money. You don’t want a maid now, but I’m sure you will ... there is no grandparent to dump the kids on when you want to go out, get sick or if wife goes to work.

You need to save. It’s the only reason to be here. There is no cultural enlightenment, your career will go backwards and it’s expensive to arrive, and even more expensive to leave. You have to build a cushion.

25k ... not possible with one in school at all in my opinion. It’s expensive here.

life is nothing like what you see when you’re on holiday. You come here for the money and stay for the money...or because you’re no longer employable elsewhere.
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Old Aug 19th 2019, 10:51 am
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Default Re: Finance market in Dubai

Originally Posted by Millhouse View Post


way out.

The 3 y/o will need to go to school. We start at 3 not 5 here if you want a space for later.

The wife will go nuts at home all day when it’s hot. She needs a job or outlet which will cost you money. You don’t want a maid now, but I’m sure you will ... there is no grandparent to dump the kids on when you want to go out, get sick or if wife goes to work.

You need to save. It’s the only reason to be here. There is no cultural enlightenment, your career will go backwards and it’s expensive to arrive, and even more expensive to leave. You have to build a cushion.

25k ... not possible with one in school at all in my opinion. It’s expensive here.

life is nothing like what you see when you’re on holiday. You come here for the money and stay for the money...or because you’re no longer employable elsewhere.
Understood Millhouse, certainly doesn’t sound like a bed of roses.

One point I should probably have mentioned with regards to budget is that both kids benefit from a trust fund in the UK, the eldest is at an independent school and her fees of c£7.5k per year are paid from the trust.

So whilst I appreciate school fees are more expensive in Dubai I would be able to offset around £15k per year as they would be paid by the trust.

Im hoping that the contribution to school fees plus a salary of 40,000 AED is manageable but getting the indication that it won’t be!
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